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Open for Fitness: We Tried the Aerial Silk Workout at Samadhi Hawai‘i in Kaka‘ako

This month, we flipped and climbed our way through an aerial silk class.


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Editor’s Note: Stacey and Katrina are at vastly different fitness levels (and ages) but both enjoy working out. We thought it’d be fun for the two of them to try new or interesting workouts together each month. This month, they went to Samadhi Hawai‘i’s Adult Tissu Foundations class.

 

Aerial Silk

 

WHAT IT IS

Samadhi Hawai‘i’s Adult Tissu Foundations class is for students 15 and older who want to learn the basics of aerial silks. Instructors teach you how to use the silks to hang upside down and try other poses.

 

HOW WE FELT: BEFORE

Katrina: Stoked. Stacey (finally) let me choose this month’s workout, so I wanted to try something completely different from our previous cardio-heavy classes. I’ve watched Samadhi performances in the past and have friends who really love aerial workouts. I wanted to learn a new skill while getting a good workout.

 

Stacey: To be honest, I thought this class was going to be a little too froufrou for me. I love physical contact and sweating out of every pore (hence, my CorePower obsession). And, I knew upper-body strength would come in handy to climb the silks, which I have none of. Soccer player, remember? Then when we arrived and saw cute girls climbing koalalike up the silks with ease, I wanted to run. The other way.

 

THE EXPERIENCE

Aerial Silk

 

We joined a Monday afternoon class with one other student who had some previous silk experience. Our instructor, Marie Takazawa, gave us plenty of one-on-one attention since we were complete newbies.

 

The Warmup

Katrina: We spread out some yoga mats on the far side of the studio to warm up our legs, ankles, shoulders, necks, core and arms. I was already sore from moshing at a concert a few nights before, so the stretches helped relax my muscles. The most challenging move was lying flat with our arms out to the sides, lifting our legs straight up and lowering them together, side to side. My abs were already shaking. We finished with 50 revolutions of sparkly hula hoops, which is a lot harder to do as an adult, apparently.

 

Stacey: Yeah, the namaste part was easy. The hula-hooping was fun and brought back memories of small-kid days. Found out my ol’ ass can still hoop it up! But then we went into basic moves. The first exercise was grabbing a silk in each hand, extending our arms straight out in front of us, then separating the silks out to our sides and repeating this back and forth a few times (to loosen the muscles, I assume). Not too bad. Second, we wrapped each arm around a silk and lifted our legs up. It was manageable. Third, we had to grab one silk above our heads and pull our legs up and down 10 times. My entire body was shaking, and my arms felt like no help at all. All I could think was abort, ABORT!

 

The Workout

 

Katrina: Once we got the feel of the silks, we were ready for tricks. Marie tied the silks in a knot about halfway up her back. She slipped her arms through the silks, like backpack straps, tucked her legs and flipped upside down. No sweat—literally. I couldn’t wait to try it and Stacey was too afraid to go first, so I hopped up on the mat and got into position. But when I lifted my legs, I didn’t go anywhere. I don’t have much upper-body strength, so I could only hold myself up for a few seconds before putting my feet back on the mat. I figured I couldn’t flip because my center of mass is pretty low, but Marie said it’s more about tucking into your core and leaning back. I don’t have much core strength either, so she had to help push me over. Once I was upside down, she showed me how to straighten my legs to move the knot to a more comfortable position lower on my back, then straddle the silks and let my arms hang free.

 

Stacey: Yeah, after the beginning exercises, I was chicken. But, when Marie insisted, I went in for the flip. I actually did it on my first try. And, once I flipped and went into an upside-down split, I just hung out for a while. When I came back upright and blood started rushing from my brain, I swore I heard Marie say, “That was really good.”

 

Katrina: I felt stupid being upside down. I completely understood Marie’s demonstrations, but when she instructed me to bend my legs or straddle the silks, I just kind of flailed around. Meanwhile, our classmate was practicing Russian climbs and other more advanced moves that took her up to the ceiling and back before I could figure out which leg I was trying to bend. At one point I told Marie my leg wouldn’t go any farther, but she said, “it did last time,” and with a simple nudge, she coaxed me into the proper position. 

 

Aerial Silk

 

Stacey: I was proud of my accomplishment, until we had to do it again! This time we were told to make a pretzel shape with our legs. So, I flipped upside down, and just like Katrina, when Marie gave me instructions, I was baffled. I couldn’t tell left from right and up from down. But, with some major help, I twisted my body and bent one leg back far enough to grab it with my opposite hand. YAY! But, a second head rush left me spinning and I wanted to throw back a bottle of Advil and lie in a dark room.

 

Katrina: After a quick break—Stacey had already put on her slippers and was ready to leave—it was time to climb. I didn’t expect to do this in our first lesson, but it was not nearly as difficult as I thought. We practiced the motion of wrapping the silks around our legs and squeezing the silks between our thighs to take some of our weight off our arms (thank goodness, because mine were spent). After a few practice wraps, we used what we had learned in our warmup to briefly hang in place, lift our legs off the ground, wrap one foot, and then put pressure with our thighs and other foot to straighten out. After doing this a few times, I was surprised to find myself about 3 feet off the ground.

 

Stacey: After seeing a smiling Katrina shimmy her body up the silk, I put my big-girl panties on and went for it. I was surprised at how high I got. Marie was supporting me from below and pushing my legs up, but I still consider it a win!

 

HOW WE FELT: AFTER

Aerial Silk

 

Katrina: We did it! Unlike our past workouts, where the goal was just to make it through, this was much more satisfying for me to be able to say I actually climbed the silks at the end of the 75-minute class. And I was really glad that it wasn’t all upper body. Even though I wasn’t sweaty at all, I could still feel it in my deltoids and lats for almost a week.

 

Stacey: TIRED. And dizzy. But I was super happy that I tried something out of my comfort zone. Will I be playing with silks in the near future? Probably not. It kicked my ass!

 

THE INFO

Aerial Silk

 

Samadhi Hawai‘i’s eight-week spring session runs through early April. You can sign up for single classes ($27–$35), packages (up to $252 for eight classes) or private lessons. Classes include trapeze, ring, silks and more. The door to Samadhi is located inside Boca Hawai‘i, 330 Cooke St., through an unmarked door toward the back of the store. Look for the aerial imagery in the upstairs windows. For more information, go to samadhihawaii.com or call (808) 683-6080.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY STACEY MAKIYA

 

READ MORE STORIES BY KATRINA VALCOURT

 

 

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